Saturday, June 22, 2013

Big Birthday Weekend... but no-one is counting!

Birthdays come and go. And at some point we stop counting. I was excited for the weekend though, as we were getting a visit from my brother and his wife from QLD and friends were coming from Melbourne. We were going to spend the weekend working in the garden, working on the cabin, eating and having fun. 

But before everyone arrived, there were jobs to be done. The pumpkins had to be picked. Not much of a harvest, considering the real estate these vines took up in the veggie patch! However, these pumpkins will keep us going throughout winter. We'll eat soup, make quiche, roast them and make scones. 
Being winter, it has been a weekly pleasure to make a pot of soup, using all the vegetables available in the garden. I boiled up a ham hock to make jelly for a different recipe. The meaty bits were then cooked with the veggies. Potatoes, carrot, pumpkin, turnip, kale, spinach, leeks, parsley and a sprig of winter savoury. All these delicious veggies have been growing from the end of summer. Now we're enjoying them.

First a couple of leeks are chopped up and sweated till they're soft. Then the rest of the vegetables are chopped and thrown into the pot. Water is added to cover everything and a few stock cubes tossed in for extra flavour. 
I like to use a heavy cast iron pot. Mine is a Le Crueset. It has a heavy base and holds the heat well. I pop the pot onto the wood stove and soon the smell of delicious soup fills the kitchen.

This is slow food at its best. All we needed was a chunky slice of home made bread!

Friday morning and action began on the cabin. Our young chippy friend Michael put up the floor frame for the new ensuite a few weeks ago. This weekend it was the walls that were going up. Of course it has to be a miserable day. Fine, cold rainy drizzle. The boys were not going to let the weather stop them. There was work to be done! Market awnings come in handy.
Frans and Michael getting started on cutting bits of wood while Lionel looks on and gives them suggestions!
Mid morning and the frame is almost done.

Meanwhile, while the one lot concentrated on the cabin, Lionel got planting. I was lucky to receive from him and Adele three fruit trees. We're adding to our orchard and needed to put in some orange trees. Also, an almond tree I planted last year didn't make it, so that was also being replaced. The best part of this birthday present was that Lionel planted them too for me. He also transplanted a lemon and two lime trees that I'd been growing in pots. So almost instantly, our orchard increased by 6 trees! We paced the paddock numerous times to work out the best placement for the trees. Lionel likes straight lines, so the trees has to line up perfectly. We have room for another 4 trees. I'll dig the holes in the next week or so and plant another batch of trees. This time we'll add a quince, two figs and perhaps a mandarine.
This is the replacement almond getting a pat down!
Grow baby grow!
Plenty of mulch was used around the new trees. Not one to be shy of a bit of hard work, Lynnie got her hands dirty and shovelled mulch too.
Thanks guys! So you'll notice in this photo that the grass is a bit long... Lionel is a neat freak, and he wasn't satisfied that everything looked as good as it could. So he hopped onto the ride on mower and mowed the paddock, and the house lawn, and anywhere else he could!
Oh the thrill of toys... big boys toys!

Meanwhile back at the cabin... Walls were going up!
And by the end of the day the outside shell was complete.
Michael left Frans with a list of jobs to do to carry on with the job. Frans has tackled the next stage with gusto. Building manuals and library books are scattered all over the kitchen table as he confirms that the rafters and roof fixtures he's making are correct. 
This city chic is very at home on the farm. Here is Lynnie feeding Frans' cows in the afternoon.
And here she is feeding my chooks in the morning!
I hate my picture being taken, but here's one of me using my lovely new tea cup that my lovely friend Viv sent to me from Brisbane. Nothing like drinking tea from a proper cup! Thanks Viv xx
A weekend away from the city isn't complete without a walk down a long country road in the late afternoon.
And a perfect ending to a hard working weekend is a big fire! Plus a glass of lovely red wine!

Happy Winter! It's here at last!

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